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Best Practices for Working from Home
Working at home has become popular, and it will only become more popular in the future. They may have an at-home office, or they may work in the library down the street. Either way, the key to working from home is to enlist practices that encourage productivity. The distractions that take away from work in an office are different than at home, and staying focused at home is far more important because there is no surprise visits from the boss. Follow these tips to make the most out of working from home.
Create Office Hours
You’ll need to set, and keep, specific office hours for working. At times, regular hours are difficult to maintain, as client needs or personal issues may interfere. However, try your hardest to stick to a regular work schedule. You’ll want time to devote to work, but you’ll also want down time to take care of yourself. After the work day is over, turn off the “office” and grant yourself some down time.
Consider an office environment. Projects are structured, timelines are posted, and the day is organized into segments. Do this for yourself when you work from home. Determine a plan for the day, every day, first thing in the morning. Order the tasks from most important to least. Tackle the important tasks when you’re awake and fresh, saving smaller tasks for those sleepy afternoon hours.
You can technically stay in your pajamas all day, but the way you’re dressed affects you psychologically. Just as you wouldn’t work in bed because bed is associated with sleep, you shouldn’t work in your pajamas. Transition from sleep to work, and from home to office, by getting dressed in the morning. Create a morning routine as if you were going to an actual office outside the home.
Create a Work Area
Similar to getting dressed in the morning, you need to switch your brain from home to work mode. Giving yourself a dedicated work space will help with this transition. Ideally, this area should be somewhere that can be closed away from the rest of the home. It will be easier to walk away from work at the end of the day if it is out of sight. You’ll find it is easier to be organized and productive with a dedicated work-space.
This is the most important point for a work-at-home employee, and one that is often ignored. It’s easy to work through lunch when there are no paid breaks. However, it’s important to your mental health to take occasional work breaks. Go for a walk, stand outside, get something to eat, read an article, or do something else for a short amount of time to come away from the job. You’ll get more done in the long run and your productivity will be better overall.
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